Quinoa Meatballs

Again, with the no/low-carb meals.

Quinoa is actually not a grain, it is a member of the grass family and related to beets and spinach.

Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and co-author of Nourishing Traditions, says: “Quinoa is a staple food of the Incas and the Indians in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia… Quinoa contains 16-20% protein and is high in cystine, lysine and methionine–amino acids that tend to be low in other grains. It contains iron, calcium and phosphorus, B vitamins and vitamin E, and is relatively high in fat. Like all grains, quinoa contains anti-nutrients and therefore requires a long soaking as part of the preparation process.”

Soaking instructions: Soak in a warm water mixture (warm water plus 2 Tablespoons whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk). Use a 1:3 ratio of quinoa to warm water (for 2 C quinoa, use 6 C water) at least 12 hours to remove phytates. Rinse and drain well. Then put in pan with double the amount of water or stock and bring to a boil. Skim (foam off the top), reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or more on very low heat. (watch and taste to see when done.. with this low amount it could be done sooner than this. I make more at the same time for another dish during the week, so I have never made only 3/4 C.)

You can use quinoa in place of rice and as fillers for things like meatballs and for salads and casseroles. It has a unique flavor, so it does add a little different twist on things so don’t expect it to just disappear into meatballs and not notice that its there. You will. But it’s good!

QUINOA MEATBALLS

1# ground beef
3/4 C. quinoa, cooked
1/4 C. finely chopped onions
1/4 C. grated carrots
1/4 C. grated zucchini
2 T ketchup
1 T chopped garlic
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 egg

[photo credit]

Lentil Hamburger Casserole

Just about every week I try a new recipe. Sometimes they are good, once in a while they really bomb. This one was good… for a dirt cheap meal that is quick and easy.

This isn’t really a casserole because you don’t bake it after its assembled so it’s kind of ┬ájust a bowl of slop (I’m great at marketing, aren’t I?) but the flavors are really great.

Lentil Hamburger Casserole

2 Cups Lentils

1 Quart Water

1 Bay Leaf

1 pound ground beef

1 large onion, diced

1 8oz. can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

In a large saucepan over Medium heat, bring to boil lentils, 1 quart water and bay leaf. Reduce heat, cover; simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, saute beef and onion until meat is cooked through. Drain lentils, reserving liquid.

If necessary, add water to make 1 C liquid. Discard bay leaf. Stir lentils and liquid into meat mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well.

Serves 6.